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We've been hearing for some time about the looming competition to Internet service providers from companies like AT&T, MCI, Sprint and the regional Bells. Next year, they'll make good on that threat.

As more and more people jump online, convenience and bundling will become the keys to unlocking the real potential of this market-and bundling is something the phone companies know how to do.

Yankee Group predicts that the long-distance companies and regional Bells will be the big winners, owning about 25% of the estimated 26 million access accounts by 1998; traditional ISPs are expected to account for just 10%.

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